Brilliant!

Here is a real cool story.

Clayton Marr is such a careful driver that he even indicates when turning his tractor between the rows of grapes on the family vineyard in Golden Hills Rd, Waimea West.

His skill behind the wheel is because the bar has been set higher for him, and now, according to his family, the 19-year-old has become the second ? and youngest ? New Zealander with Down syndrome to get a driver’s licence.

Clayton passed his learner licence test two years ago with a score of 100 per cent, and in early December he achieved an 82 per cent pass for his restricted licence.

“It’s not that hard,” he said.

Hell, some people have to sit a driving test literally hundreds of times to pass. A kid with Downs Syndrome does it first off. Just goes to show you that a handicap is no obstacle to some people.

His parents Jeff and Sophie Marr say it has been “quite a process” helping their son achieve independence, and has taken a fair bit of lateral thinking.

The building blocks were the same as for their other children, Sean, 18, and Alex, 16, who also learned to drive in a rural setting.

Clayton had ridden a motorcycle from a very young age, when the family lived at Okiwi Bay, Mr Marr said.

“When they started driving, they had `paddock cars’. If they can, all young people should learn to drive on a farm so that when they hit the road, all they have to think about is the rules.”

Clayton has learned precision driving. “Work in the vineyard means there’s only a few centimetres’ clearance down each side of the row. Clayton spends 25 hours a week on the tractor and he’s only ever run over one post,” Mr Marr said.

Mrs Marr said Clayton had an automatic “paddock car”, but kept looking at his feet on the pedals. “So Jeff took him there at night so he couldn’t see his feet.”

Wow, so cool, he is lucky he has enabling parents and siblings, I suspect that there a lot of intellectually disabled people out there who are further disabled by peoples perceptions of what they can and can’t do.

The missus and I thought that my BIL would do well to have a laptop so he could send and receive emails, plus look at Youtube for his favourite things like planes, trains and fire engines. Some people said it couldn’t be done. We didn’t. I specified a Mac turns out I was right after a go with a PC laptop. Now my BIL with a bit of training writes and sends his own emails, looks things up if he reads something interesting in the paper and generally has an all round better quality of life by having access to the internet and a MacBook. I laugh like hell when people tell me they can’t use a Mac, its too hard. i tell them that my intellectually disabled BIL can and does, so who is the handicapped person now?

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